1st Edition

Dictators and Autocrats
Securing Power across Global Politics

Edited By

Klaus Larres

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after October 29, 2021
ISBN 9780367607876
October 29, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
488 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

In order to truly understand the emergence, endurance and legacy of autocracy, this volume of engaging essays explores how autocratic power is acquired, exercised and transferred or abruptly ended, through the careers and politics of influential figures in more than 20 countries and six regions.

The book looks at both traditional ‘hard’ dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and more modern ‘soft’ or populist autocrats, who are in the process of transforming once fully democratic countries into autocratic states, including Erdogan in Turkey, Brasilian leader Bolsonaro, Duterte in the Philippines, Modi in India, and Orban in Hungary. The authors touch on a wide range of autocratic and dictatorial figures in past and present, including present-day autocrats, such as Putin and Xi Jinping, military leaders, and democratic leaders with authoritarian aspirations. They analyze the transition of selected autocrats from democratic or benign semi-democratic systems to harsher forms of autocracy, with either quite disastrous or more successful outcomes.

An ideal reader for students and scholars, as well as the general public, interested in international affairs, leadership studies, contemporary history and politics, global studies, security studies, economics, psychology, and behavioral studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Dictators and Autocrats: A Global Phenomenon
Klaus Larres

Abstracts: 23 Dictators and Autocrats of Our Times


1. Joseph Stalin: Autocrat par excellence (The Soviet Union)
Hiroaki Kuromiya
2. Adolf Hitler: From Democracy to Dictatorship (Germany)
Eric Kurlander
3. Mao Zedong: Communist Party Dictatorship (China)
Covell F. Meyskens


4. Fidel Castro: From Grassroots Dictatorship to Communist Autocracy (Cuba)
Lilian Guerra
5. Augusto Pinochet: The Emergence of One-Man Rule (Chile)
Patricio Silva
6. Robert Mugabe: Ruthless Authoritarian who Preferred Democratic Clothing (Zimbabwe)
Richard Bourne
7. Joseph Kabila: the “Raïs” of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo)
Charles Tshimanga-Kashama
8. Hugo Chávez: Was he an Autocrat? (Venezuela)
Gabriel Hetland
9. Lee Kuan Yew: Autocracy, Elections, and Capitalism (Singapore)
Michael Barr


10. Vladimir Putin: Russia’s Neo-Patrimonial Façade Democracy (Russia)
Allen J. Lynch
11. Xi Jinping: The Rise of an Authoritarian Leader (China)
Johnny Erling
12. Narendra Modi: Elected Authoritarian (India)
Ian Hall
13. Donald J. Trump: The Authoritarian Style in American Politics (USA)
Klaus Larres


14. Ali Hosseini Khamenei: Routinizing Revolution (Iran)
Kjetil Selvik
15. The Assad Dynasty: Quo Vadis Damascus? (Syria)
Moshe Ma’oz
16. Kim Jong un: Rise to Power and Leadership Style (North Korea)
Rachel M. Lee
17. Abd al Fattah al Sisi: The One and Only Egyptian Dictator (Egypt)
Robert Springborg
18. Prayuth Chan-o-cha: From the Barracks to the Ballot Box (Thailand)
Pasuth Thothaveesansuk
19. Muhammad bin Salman Al-Saud: King in All But Name (Saudi Arabia)
Christopher Davidson
20. János Kádár and Viktor Orbán: From Communist to Post-Communist Autocracy (Hungary)
Andras Bozoki
21. Recep Tayyip Erdogan: From “Illiberal Democracy” to Electoral Authoritarianism (Turkey)
Howard Eissenstat
22. Rodrigo Duterte: Macho Populism and Authoritarian Practice (Philippines)
Nicole Curato and Yvan Ysmael Yonaha
23. Jair Bolsonaro: Beyond the Pale, Above the Fray (Brazil)
Andre Pagliarini

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Klaus Larres is the Richard M Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as Counselor and Senior Policy Adviser at the German Embassy in Beijing, held the Kissinger Chair in International Relations at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and was a Fellow at the SWP think tank in Berlin. Among his many publications are the books Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy; Uncertain Allies: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Threat of a United Europe; Understanding Global Politics: Actors and Themes in International Affairs (co-ed.), and many others.